Trisha Shetty (Editor)

1994 North American cold wave

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Type  Cold wave and snowfall
Dissipated  January 1994
Formed  January 1994
Areas affected  Canada, United States

The 1994 North American cold wave occurred in the northern United States and southern Canada on January 18, 1994.


During the same period, the western United States experienced one of its most damaging earthquakes ever, and the eastern United States experienced a major snowfall that significantly delayed traffic.

Over 100 deaths occurred in the United States as a result of the weather.


Temperatures in Chicago, Illinois reached −21 °F (−29.4 °C) with windchill of −55 °F (−48.3 °C), the coldest day of the 1990s in Chicago by far. Almost all primary and secondary schools in Chicago were closed that day. Richard Daley, mayor of Chicago advised residents not to go outside if they do not have to. Nearly all schools in the area were closed and four people in Cook County, Illinois died from hypothermia. Hundreds of drivers per hour complained to the AAA-Chicago Motor Club about dead automobile batteries, fuel injectors being too cold and other vehicle issues and United Airlines cancelled almost half of its flights. Tens of thousands of individuals complained about a lack of power due to severed electricity lines while water companies shut off water to homes as a result of pipe explosions. Thousands of apartment renters complained to Cook County about insufficient heat.

Temperature records

Washington National Airport, later renamed to Reagan National Airport, had a new record low max temperature for the 20th century of 8 °F (−13.3 °C).

On January 19, the temperature in New Whiteland, Indiana dropped to −36 °F (−37.8 °C), the record lowest temperature in Indiana. The minimum record temperature in Kentucky was −37 °F (−38.3 °C) in Shelbyville on January 19, 1994.

The lowest temperature seen in Sussex County, New Jersey was −26 °F (−32.2 °C) on January 21, 1994.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania saw its record low temperature of −22 °F (−30 °C) on January 19, 1994. Columbus, Ohio set an all-time record low temperature of −22 °F (−30 °C) on January 19 as well. However, the arctic blast lasted for three days from January 18 to 20.

On January 6–7, 1994, Lake County, Minnesota set records for the largest snow in one day as well as the most snow in one storm.

Maine had its coldest month since February 1934 and its coldest January since 1920, while Vermont had its coldest winter since 1958-1959 and the adjacent states of New Hampshire and Maine their coldest since 1976-1977 or 1970-1971.


1994 North American cold wave Wikipedia